Mercedes Benz American Express Platinum Card
Reader WK (thanks, WK!) writes in to let us know about the 50,000 Membership Reward points offer for the Mercedes Benz American Express Platinum card.
The minimum spending is a manageable $1,000 within 3 months, but there is a $475 annual fee which is not waived for the first year.
I will not be applying for this card, because I can’t justify the $475 fee, and because I need to wait a bit since my recent app-o-rama.
But this is a great deal for folks who are buying a Mercedes Benz, since you get 5 times the number of points on Mercedes Benz purchases and a $1,000 off certificate towards a new Mercedes after spending $5,000.
Even with the $200 credit toward airline incidental fees, I would be paying $275 ($475 annual fee – $200 airline credit) for 50,000 Membership Rewards points and limited airline lounge access.
Sure, I could redeem 50,000 points for at least $500 in gift cards, but I’d only get a $225 value ($500 in gift cards + $200 in airline fee credit – $475 annual fee) from the card since I don’t value the lounge benefits (the Platinum card is a much better deal if you value lounge access or the $100 Global Access fee credit).
I expect at least a $300+ value (or more) before I apply for a new card in today’s mega-bonus environment.
I’d rather apply for other cards with lower or waived annual fees first (lounge access is not important to me), but will consider the American Express Platinum when I run out of other options.
But this card may be a good deal for folks who travel a lot and who can take advantage of the airline lounge benefits with Delta, American Airlines, and US Air and the $200 travel credit.
American Express Platinum cardholders also get access to American Airline lounges, but I’m not sure how much longer this will last since Citi recently introduced a credit card with lounge access, and may put pressure on American Airlines to suspend lounge access to American Express Platinum cardholders.
Regular American Express Platinum Offer
The regular offer is for 25,000 Membership Reward points, but there is a thread on FlyerTalk about folks applying for the regular Platinum card and then calling to increase the bonus.
I’ve been asked many, many times via email if it is worth applying for an American Express card and then trying to increase the bonus.
It really depends.
If you can take the risk of ending up with a smaller sign-up bonus, and won’t be very disappointed if you are unable to get the larger sign-on bonus, then go ahead and apply.
Don’t apply, if you will always regret not being able to get the higher bonus, because there are no guarantees that you will be able to get the higher sign on bonus.
It really depends on your risk tolerance, but I have read that it is taking more calls to get American Express to apply targeted bonus calls to your account.
The card does have some very strong benefits, but the $475 annual fee may not be worth it for everyone.
1. Lounge Access. You get access to Delta, American Airlines, US Air, and up to September 30, 2011, Continental Airlines lounges while traveling.
Access to American Airlines, Delta, and Continental lounges is only if you are flying on those airlines and present your boarding pass and platinum card while entering the lounge. You can even bring 2 guests or your spouse and children under 21 with you.
You can enter the US air lounge, even if you are not traveling on US Air, but this is not as good as it seems since US air doesn’t have lounges in a lot of airports.
If you are a regular US Air, Delta, and American Airlines traveler, the lounge access benefits could be very valuable.
2. $200 Airline Credit. Once you designate an airline, American Express will automatically credit your account for incidental fees, such as flight change, baggage fees, etc. on that airline.
One Mile At a Time has written that most small purchases seem to get reimbursed, so you may be able to get $200 in airline gift cards, which would help make the $475 annual fee more palatable.
Mommy Points reminds us that while the $200 airline incidental credit is not included in the terms & conditions of the Mercedes Benz Platinum card, the American Express Facebook page suggests that the $200 fee is included since it is a benefit of the regular Platinum card.
3. Global Entry Rebate. You get the $100 sign-up fee credited for the Global Entry program which speeds up immigration and customs when entering the US.
4. SPG Gold Status. You get complimentary SPG Gold status as a Platinum cardmember. SPG Gold gets you a 50% bonus on points earned, late check out, and a slightly better room.
5. Mercedes Benz Benefits.
I thought these were pretty weak, and was expecting something better. Readers have pointed out that these could be a great value if you are purchasing a new Mercedes Benz.
- Spend $5,000 and get a $1,000 certificate towards the purchase/lease of a new Mercedes.
- Earn 5 times the number of points for eligible Mercedes Benz purchases. This is a HUGE benefit if you’re buying a Mercedes because even if you have to pay a fee to the dealer to use your card, you will still come out ahead because of the 5X bonus.
- $100 certificate after first purchase towards Mercedes accessories. I bought wiper blades for my Honda Civic last week and paid more than $50, so I’m not sure what Mercedes accessories you’d get for $100!
6. Other Platinum Benefits. The Points Guy has compiled a nice list of the other American Express Platinum benefits.
Once again, this is not a card which I’ll be applying for.
But if you are buying a Mercedes, or if you fly regularly and value Delta, US Air, and American Airlines lounge access or will enroll in Global Access, this card will likely be a good value.
What say you?
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Disclosure: I don’t get any commission or payment from Mercedes Benz, American Express or anyone else for this post or for the links in this post.